The Imperfect First Draft

Less than a month ago I finished the first draft of my first novel entitled Vanity.  It was a grueling yet exciting process being able to write a story I wanted to read.  I didn’t have the luxury of time vacationing in a secluded cabin with minimal distractions to get this done.  To be honest, most of my writing was done during breaks from my day job, while dinner was simmering on the stovetop, and late night hours with lots of tea.  Gallons and gallons of tea.  Writing “THE END” at the conclusion of my story was one of the greatest feelings I’ve felt as a writer.  Still, I was left with a question, “What now?”

The sense of accomplishment was overwhelming, and anticipation led me to read my first draft the next day with a pen in hand.  Mark after mark I called attention to my typos, sentences fragments, awkward dialogue, and inconsistencies within my story.  Looking at my first draft riddled with corrections in purple ink I understood why people dubbed the term “rough draft” because boy, it was ROUGH.

I wanted to be honest with myself and give an accurate assessment of my work because I know the brutal honesty will only allow my story to get better.  Reviewing my comments made me realize I, in fact, am fantastic at giving critiques.  My criticism was so fluid that I began to feel discouraged.  Maybe I’m not supposed to share this with anyone.  It wasn’t until I read one positive comment I left myself, “Better writing in this chapter.”  In one section I actually wrote, “KEEP!”  Perhaps it wasn’t so awful after all.

Seeing those critical comments made me realize how quick we can be to breed the idea that we should give up.  It’s not good enough, quickly becomes, I’M not good enough.  How many times do we get upset at ourselves for making mistakes or failing when trying something for the first time?  My expectation of a first draft wasn’t perfection at a first attempt.  Rather, I confirmed being a writer is about striving to perfect storytelling.  It would be easy to just give up, yet life’s accomplishments are never supposed to be easy.

Whether you are writing your first draft, trying something for the first time, are currently working on a project, or even trying to just figure out your purpose in life, I encourage you to keep going.  First drafts are supposed to be rough, and they remain rough until we keep editing and striving to make them better.  Embrace the mess that a first draft is supposed to be.  Happy drafting!

What are you currently working on?  Share in the comments!


Until next post,



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